Katie Meyer

AP

If a common pleas judge in Cambria County gets his way, more information may be released about a sweeping grand jury report on sexual abuse of children in six of Pennsylvania's eight Catholic dioceses.

Matt Rourke / AP

State lawmakers—particularly the ones running for office—have spent the last month touting the fact they passed a budget ahead of schedule after a decade of regular impasses.

Their success wasn’t unusual this year—nearly every state passed an on-time budget thanks to strong revenues.

Late budgets have become routine in a number of states since the 2008 recession.

Both photos by Matt Rourke / AP

Gov. Tom Wolf and GOP challenger Scott Wagner have spent much of this month trying to paint one another as supporters of school funding cuts.

And both say the other camp is being misleading.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania’s Auditor General says he’s expanding his review of the state voter registration infrastructure, after learning a Russian oligarch is a primary investor in the company that manages Maryland’s system.

Elise Amendola / AP

The state Public Utility Commission is considering taking over jurisdiction of certain utilities from the federal government in an effort to boost efforts to bring high-speed broadband to underserved rural areas.

The PUC said its main goal is resolving telephone pole disputes faster than the Federal Communications Commission can.

One of the main ways broadband gets to customers is through aerial wires on utility poles.

PA Dept. of Health

The state website where people can order birth and death records was recently offline for nearly a full week because someone made unauthorized changes to the site.

No data breach was reported, and no one’s records have been compromised, however.

The Office of Administration declined to comment beyond confirming the outage last month for emergency maintenance, and saying they’re working with law enforcement.

But Republican state Representative John Lawrence of Chester County said he’s gotten a little more information.

Michael Rubinkam / AP

The price of being a student in the State System of Higher Education is getting steeper.

Heather Kresge / Democratic Socialists of America

The state Republican Party is launching a new strategy for this fall's congressional elections: making and distributing lists of which Democrats support socialized programs, among other things.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

In the wake of a Supreme Court decision halting unions' ability to compel public sector employees to pay fees, pro-union state lawmakers are trying to come up with a rebuttal.

So far, House and Senate Democrats have launched bills that would let public sector workers form unions by simple majorities--an easier system than the one in place now.

Lisa Wardle / WITF

Construction is winding down on the final feature in the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.

All that's left is installing an unprecedented, enormous and complicated set of wind chimes.

Architect Paul Murdoch first pitched his plan for the memorial more than 13 years ago, and has been incrementally building features since then.

This final stage is dubbed the Tower of Voices--a 93-foot tall concrete structure that'll be adorned with 40 chimes--one for each of the passengers and crew members killed in the crash during the September 11th attacks.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner spent much of his first town hall Thursday night hammering Democratic Governor Tom Wolf on his refusal, so far, to commit to debating him. 

It was a day full of one-upmanship between Wolf and Wagner’s campaigns—with both candidates deploying their running mates to counter each other’s talking points ahead of the event.

Tim Lambert / WITF

A proposal to retroactively extend the statute of limitations in child abuse cases in Pennsylvania is getting renewed blowback from national Catholic organizations.

Rick Hinshaw, a spokesman for the national Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said his group is always tracking bills that aim to make it harder to sue the church for old abuse cases beyond the statute of limitations.

The one they’ve had on their radar for a while in Pennsylvania is championed by Democratic Representative Mark Rozzi of Berks County.

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Pennsylvania’s District Attorneys Association is criticizing a recently-released study that gives the commonwealth a number of recommendations to improve how it handles its death penalty—including providing public funding for indigent defense and additional considerations for mentally ill offenders.

Manel Balce Ceneta / AP

As national attention remains focused on the treatment of undocumented immigrants on the southern border, a group in Pennsylvania is calling attention to a situation closer to home.

The Shut Down Berks Coalition is launching a renewed effort to shutter the Berks County Residential Center, where about 20 migrant families are detained.

Berks is the smallest of the country’s three family detention facilities operated by the federal government, and the only one that’s not in Texas.

The Shut Down Berks Coalition has been calling for its closure for several years.

90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders are being sued in federal court over a budget provision to fold a medical malpractice insurer and its assets into the state Insurance Department.

It’s the latest development in the commonwealth’s repeated attempts to take $200 million from the group’s surplus.

This is the third time the Joint Underwriting Association has sued the state—insisting its funds are separate from the commonwealth’s. Its employees don’t receive state benefits, and it’s not housed in a state building.

Fernando Lavoz / AP

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro plans to file an objection Monday to the state Supreme Court over its decision not to release a sweeping grand jury report on child abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill to wipe clean criminal records for certain low-level offenders if they go a decade without any other convictions.

The so-called “Clean Slate” measure has garnered bipartisan support. Notably, Wolf and his gubernatorial challenger Scott Wagner agreed on the measure while the Republican was in the Senate.

Under the new law, people who serve a year or more in prison can petition courts to have their records sealed after 10 years, as long as they’ve made all their court-mandated payments.

401(K) 2012/Flickr

A provision in the new state budget is seeking to end a two-year legal battle between lawmakers looking for cash to shore up their spending plan, and a medical malpractice insurer the state created in the 1970s.

Wayne Parry / AP

More regulations are being released for Pennsylvania’s fledgling sports betting industry.

Katie Meyer / WESA/WITF

A group of frustrated activists spent Tuesday afternoon holding a sit-in at the reception room outside Governor Tom Wolf's office, trying to convince him to call a special legislative session to overhaul Pennsylvania's redistricting process.

Matt Rourke / AP

After a final Monday session to tie up loose ends, the state House of Representatives has recessed for the summer until further notice, leaving some high-profile bills still-unfinished.

One of the measures in question would make it harder for domestic abusers to possess weapons. Another that would overhaul the commonwealth’s redistricting process.

The domestic violence bill has bipartisan support, and would require people under protection from abuse orders turn over their weapons more quickly, plus make those weapons harder to reclaim.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

For the first time in Gov. Tom Wolf’s tenure, he has signed a budget. And after three years of protracted negotiations, the election year plan is finished well ahead of its June 30 deadline.

The modest, compromise measure spends $32.7 billion—a roughly two percent increase over last year.

New spending goes mostly to public schools, pensions, prisons and human services—including about $800 million in one-time funding for Medicaid that was moved off-budget, which will have to be filled in again next year.

Republicans cheered the lack of new taxes.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

For the first time in Governor Tom Wolf’s tenure, he has signed a budget on time. And after three years of protracted negotiations, the election year plan is finished well ahead of its June 30th deadline.

The modest, compromise measure spends $32.7 billion—a roughly two percent increase over last year.

New spending goes mostly to public schools, pensions, prisons and human services—including about $800 million in one-time funding for Medicaid that was moved off-budget, which will have to be filled in again next year.

Republicans cheered the lack of new taxes.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Efforts to overhaul the state’s redistricting process are faltering.

Andrew Harnik / AP

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is suing the Trump administration over its family-separation policy for undocumented immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state House has taken a significant step toward finishing the commonwealth’s $32.7 billion budget plan ahead of next week’s deadline—passing the measure on to the Senate in a near-unanimous vote.

The deal is on track to be the first on-time budget of Governor Tom Wolf’s tenure.

The proposal was negotiated by House and Senate leaders and the governor, and until this week, the process happened almost entirely behind closed doors.

90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania might have its state budget—or at least part of it—done by the end of this week.

Rank and file members don't have much information yet. But if all goes to plan, Republican leaders say a proposal could make it through the House by the end of this week, and the Senate at the beginning of next—well ahead of the June 30th deadline.

“Very confident we’ll be able to advance a final product at the end of this week into next week,” Senate GOP Appropriations Chair Pat Browne said.

Katie Meyer

After staging demonstrations for the past six consecutive Mondays, the Pennsylvania chapter of the national Poor People’s Campaign has ended its extended residency in the state Capitol rotunda.

The Poor People's Campaign consists of a group of liberal activists who champion social and economic equality, in addition to extended voting rights and other causes.

In those six weeks of protesting, they chalked up 76 “civil disobedience” arrests. Nationwide, the group has reported more than 2,000 in total.

Matt Rourke / AP

When Senators passed a proposal this week aimed at creating a citizen’s commission to draw Pennsylvania’s congressional maps, they tacked on an amendment that would fundamentally change the state’s appellate courts by electing judges based on regional district, instead of statewide.

It’s not a unique concept for state courts to be arranged that way.

However, Pennsylvania’s specific form of judicial election-by-district is significantly less common than supporters have indicated.

Katie Meyer / WITF

When Senators passed a proposal  this week aimed at creating a citizen's commission to draw Pennsylvania's congressional maps, they tacked on an amendment  that would fundamentally change the state's appellate courts by electing judges based on regional district, instead of statewide.

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